SDS has already looked at the top 25 players for 2012, and now with National Signing Day in the books, let’s look at the top newcomers in the SEC for 2013. Predicting the top newcomers is often very tough, and these aren’t just merely rankings of the top players. We’re going to look at what type of impact they’ll make and where they’ll make it.

No. 18 – Tray Matthews, S, Georgia

From: Newnan, GA (Newnan)
Size: 6-1, 195 pounds, 4.5 40

The Skinny: Georgia loses three defensive backs, including both safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, two former All-SEC players. Mark Richt made the top 10 in-state Tray Matthews a priority when he committed in August of 2011 over Alabama. In fact, Matthews was the highest-rated recruit to not leave the state of Georgia this recruiting cycle. Now, the early enrollee gets his feet wet Saturday at the start of spring practice at a big position of need. Matthews will remind you a little bit of Alec Ogletree, who originally signed as s safety and grew into one of the best linebackers in the country. Matthews’ 6-1, 195-pound frame allows him to put on some weight and muscle and still carry his plus speed.

What Georgia is getting: Matthews one of the hardest hitters and surest tacklers in the 2013 class, and he has some of the best closing speed for any player at the position. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but his instincts and ball skills set him apart from the rest. Matthews has better ball skills than Ogletree, but Tree was probably a more explosive tackler as a freshman.

Where he’ll make an impact: Both safety positions are wide open, but Matthews projects better as a strong safety. And he didn’t come to Georgia to sit his freshman season either. At a big position of need, he’ll have an opportunity to make an instant impression this spring with his athleticism and football IQ. Matthews will compete with Corey Moore, Connor Norman, Marc Deas and Josh Harvey-Clemons (when he’s not playing linebacker), and he could have the highest upside of any safety currently on the roster.

Other impact newcomers:

Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports